The AMOLF Nanphotonics center investigates new physical phenomena and functionalities emerging from the interaction of light and nanoscale matter. We strive for spatial and temporal control of various degrees of freedom of light and matter, down to the atomic scale and the quantum regime. We do so through combining nanoscale design and materials in novel optical systems. We exploit nonlinearity, non-Hermiticity, fluctuations, quantum correlations, and nonreciprocity, as resources enabling unique functionalities. Moreover, we develop advanced measurement techniques to gain deep insight into light-matter interactions. With these, we aim to address important problems relevant to the acquisition, transport, conversion, and processing of energy and information.

Example scientific questions are:

  • How can photonic metamaterials process information in a massively parallel fashion?
  • How can photons be transduced to material degrees of freedom and vice versa, with ultimate efficiency and quantum coherence?
  • How can strong light-matter coupling enable frictionless energy flow, like superfluid light or superconducting materials?
  • What advances can topological protection and nonreciprocity give to the on-chip routing of light?
  • What are the fundamental limits to optical sensor performance, and how can we evade these to enhance classical and quantum sensing?
  • How are material structure and optical response correlated, and can we probe these correlations at the single-atom and femtosecond scale?

The activities make extensive use of nanofabrication and nanocharacterization techniques. In fact, the development of new experimental techniques and new materials for nanophotonic devices is an important focus.

These research directions are foundational to both the Information in Matter and Sustainable Energy Materials themes. They engage key challenges in quantum technology, energy-efficient communication (‘green ICT’), sensing and metrology, novel computing paradigms, and advanced instrumentation.